Posted on: January 29, 2012 4:37 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
The Cardinals are "actively shopping" right-hander Kyle McClellan, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Joe Strauss writes, but general manager John Mozeliak told him he expects McClellan to be with the team when pitchers and catchers report next month.
According to Strauss, the Orioles are the leaders if the Cardinals do indeed move McClellan, who is due $2.5 million next season. The Padres and Diamondbacks are other teams who have expressed interest. However, an Orioles official told MASNSports.com's Roch Kubatko that he didn't expect the Cardinals to move McClellan.
The 27-year-old McClellan began 2011 as a starter, but moved back to the bullpen after the team acquired Edwin Jackson. He was not on the team's roster for the division series or World Series. Overall, McClellan was 12-7 with a 4.19 ERA in 43 games and 17 starts last season. He was 6-6 with a 4.21 ERA in his starts and 6-1 with a 4.14 ERA in 26 games. He struck out 76 batters in 141 2/3 innings.
McClellan was a starter in the minors, but didn't start a game in the majors until 2011. He had a 2.27 ERA in 68 games in 2010 with 60 strikeouts in 75 1/3 innings. He's 19-22 with a 3.61 ERA in his career, picking up six saves.
THe Cardinals have a surplus of relievers, with Eduardo Sanchez, Lance Lynn, Fernando Salas and Mitchell Boggs as right-handed set-up men for closer Jason Motte, with lefties Marc Rzepczynski and J.C. Romero.
The team could also use the money saved on McClelllan, a St. Louis native, for starter Roy Oswalt, who has expressed interest in joining the Cardinals.
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Posted on: December 22, 2011 10:57 am
By C. Trent Rosecrans
What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no minor or major league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. To view the schedule/past entries of this feature, click here.
While most of the teams on our list would love a do-over for 2011 -- or at least part of it, the season somehow worked out pretty well for the St. Louis Cardinals, a team that took advantage of an epic collapse and capitalized upon its chance by winning the World Series. The moves made by both the current management team and former executives, all worked out for one glorious season in St. Louis, so it's another example of why the exercise is for fun only. But there's one thing our Homegrown Cardinals have that the 2012 version doesn't -- Albert Pujols.
1. Jon Jay, RF
2. Placido Polanco, 3B
3. Albert Pujols, 1B
4. Allen Craig, LF
5. Colby Rasmus, CF
6. Yadier Molina, C
7. Brendan Ryan, SS
8. Skip Schumaker, 2B
1. Dan Haren
2. Jaime Garcia
3. Kyle McClellan
4. Chris Narveson
5. Lance Lynn
Closer - Chris Perez
Set up - Mitchell Boggs, Fernando Salas, Luke Gregerson, Blake Hawksworth, Eduardo Sanchez
Notable Bench Players
The bench has some interesting players -- you have defensive replacements in Jack Wilson and Coco Crisp, some pop in Brett Wallace, J.D. Drew and Rick Ankiel, as well as some versatility in Daniel Descalso. Daric Barton's there, too, but not sure where or when he'd ever play considering Pujols is still a Cardinal here.
Any lineup with Pujols is not bad -- but it's not overwhelming, either. While lacking some of the firepower from Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman, there are still some passable players. While there's no Chris Carpenter or Adam Wainwright, there is Dan Haren and the top two of the rotation are good. The strength of this team -- and Tony La Russa would certainly love this -- is the bullpen. Not only are their Cardinals holdovers of Motte, Boggs, Salas and Sanchez, you also add Perez, Gergerson and Hawksowrth, giving this team plenty of relief options.
After the top two in the rotation, the rest are pretty pedestrian. McClellan is not only in the rotation -- where he started in 2011 -- but he's also going to be either a No. 3 or No. 4. The outfield isn't terrible, but when you take away Berkman and Holliday, it's going to pale in comparison.
Comparison to real 2011
Let's just get to the point, the margin for error for the 2011 St. Louis Cardinals was razor thin, but they stayed on the right side of it just enough to go on to one of the most exciting, improbable runs of all time to capture the World Series title. There is no way this hypothetical team could do anything close to what the real Cardinals did. The offensive firepower isn't the same and there's no Chris Carpenter. No, this team doesn't just fail to win the World Series or make the playoffs, it fails to reach .500 and probably finishes in the bottom half of our made-up NL Central.
Next: Ranking the Homegrown teams.
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Tags: Adam Wainwright, Albert Pujols, Allen Craig, Blake Hawksworth, Brendan Ryan, Brett Wallace, C. Trent Rosecrans, Cardinals, Chris Carpenter, Chris Narveson, Chris Perez, Coco Crisp, Colby Rasmus, Dan Haren, Daniel Descalso, Daric Barton, Eduardo Sanchez, Fernando Salas, Homegrown, J.D. Drew, Jack Wilson, Jaime Garcia, Jon Jay, Kyle McClellan, Lance Lynn, Luke Gregerson, Mitchell Boggs, NL Central, Placido Polanco, Rick Ankiel, Skip Schumaker, Tony La Russa, Yadier Molina
Posted on: October 19, 2011 1:50 pm
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Posted on: October 13, 2011 1:25 am
Edited on: October 13, 2011 2:15 am
By C. Trent Rosecrans
ST. LOUIS -- Only the Nationals had more blown saves than the Cardinals this season, as 26 times the Cardinals had a save situation and then lost a lead. But Wednesday, Chris Carpenter left the game after just five innings in Game 3 of the NLCS and said he wasn't worried about the outcome.
"Typically, as a starting pitcher, you're concerned about that -- you don't want to leave 12 outs for your bullpen," Carpenter said. "I was OK with it. I worked as hard as I could. I had confidence in my guys down there. I had confidence in what they were going to do. And they did it again."
Not only did the Cardinals relievers -- four in all -- get the 12 outs needed, they only needed to face 12 batters to do it. No Brewer reached base after Carpenter intentionally walked Prince Fielder with two outs in the fifth. Fernando Salas got three fly balls to get through the sixth, then Lance Lynn had three fly outs in the sixth and stayed in the seventh to get Ryan Braun to ground out for the first out before lefty Marc Rzepczynski came in to face Prince Fielder. Rzepczynski got Fielder to strike out on four pitches before giving way to Jason Motte -- the team's not-closer -- to strike out Rickie Weeks and then stay in for the ninth and get two strikeouts and a ground out, ending the game.
"Get 12 outs against that offense -- it's not going to work very often that you can put four zeroes against their offense," manager Tony La Russa said. "But each guy came in and really stepped up. I thought they were really aggressive, they threw good strikes and didn't fall behind."
There's been an on-going joke that La Russa still refuses to call Motte his closer -- but since recording his first save on Aug. 28, he's had one blown save a 2.91 ERA. In the playoffs, he's yet to surrender a run, recorded three saves and appeared in five games, all while allowing just one hit.
"Now we've got a guy that's throwing 100 mph, has a nasty slider, it's a presence out there, a force, and you just tip your hat to him because he's turned himself into a closer pretty quick," Berkman said, before he was reminded Motte's not been designated the "closer" by La Russa. "Well, he ends the games for us, whatever you want to call it."
There's talk that La Russa would like to get a big-name, veteran closer during the offseason, so if Motte's not the closer, he doesn't have to demote him. For this season, though, the Cardinals turned around their bullpen late in the season when they traded for right-hander Octavio Dotel, left-hander Marc Rzepczynski and starter Edwin Jackson. Jackson allowed the team to move Kyle McClellan back to the bullpen to fortify the back end.
Salas, Lynn, Dotel and Mitchell Boggs all recorded saves in the second half of the season, but Motte's seem to hold it down lately.
There's also the fact that the guy who more or less invented the modern bullpen usage is pulling the strings -- and for this series he has eight relievers to chose between.
"Tony is the most prepared person I've ever been around. He lives and dies by numbers, by match ups, by lineups," Carpenter said. "I mean, everyone questions at times why he throws different lineups up there. It's because there's reasons behind that. He's put his work into knowing why he's doing that.
"Why does he push the right buttons at the right times? Because he puts in work, he puts his time into knowing when to push the right buttons. There's a reason why he's won so many games he's won. There's a reason why his teams continue to win. There's a reason why he's a Hall of Fame manager and that's because he puts his work in, he's prepared more than any person I"ve ever see, and when he does push those buttons, he has no fear whatsoever, whether it's wrong or right, and he will answer to it if it's wrong and he will answer to it if it's right. And he's not scared about it, and that's what makes him great."
He also has little reason to be scared of his bullpen anymore. Now that fear should be in the opponent.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: September 30, 2011 9:22 pm
Edited on: September 30, 2011 9:34 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
The Cardinals were left for dead in late August, trailing in both the NL Central and the wild card by more than 10 games. There was even talk they'd trade All-Star right fielder Lance Berkman once he cleared waivers. Instead, they held onto him and went 23-9 in the last five weeks of the season. A season-ending 8-0 win over the Astros propelled the Cardinals into the playoffs as the Braves lost in 13 innings. As their prize, the Cards now get to face the best team in baseball in a short series. The Phillies won the NL East for the fifth straight season and ended up with a franchise-record 102 wins. The Cardinals recently took three of four in Philly, but the Phillies weren't really playing for anything. What happens this time around? We'll soon find out.
TEAM INFORMATIONPhiladelphia Phillies (host games 1, 2, 5)
102-60, NL East champions
Manager: Charlie Manuel
Team batting statistics: .253 batting average (9th in NL), .323 on-base percentage (5th), .395 slugging percentage (7th)
Team pitching statistics: 3.02 ERA (1st), 1.167 WHIP (1st), 3.22 K/BB (1st)
Star player: SP Roy Halladay -- 19-6, 2.35 ERA, 1.040 WHIP, 220 K in 233 2/3 innings
St. Louis Cardinals (host games 3, 4)
90-72, NL wild card champions
Manager: Tony La Russa
Team batting statistics: .273 batting average (1st in NL), .341 on-base percentage (1st), .425 slugging percentage (1st)
Team pitching statistics: 3.79 ERA (8th), 1.306 WHIP (10th), 2.45 K/BB (5th)
Star player: 1B Albert Pujols -- .305/.349/.465, 37 HR, 99 RBI, 29 2B, 9 SB
Game 2: STL @ PHI, Oct. 2, 8:07 p.m. ET. Chris Carpenter (11-9, 3.45) vs. Cliff Lee (17-8, 2.40)
Game 3: PHI @ STL, Oct. 4 Cole Hamels (14-9, 2.79) vs. Jaime Garcia (13-7, 3.56)
Game 4: PHI @ STL, Oct. 5* Roy Oswalt (9-10, 3.69) vs. Edwin Jackson (12-9, 3.79)
Game 5: STL @ PHI, Oct. 7* TBD vs. Halladay
* if necessary
TEAM BREAKDOWN (Click player name for statistics)Catcher
Philadelphia: Carlos Ruiz
St. Louis: Yadier Molina
This is one of the best match ups in all of the playoffs, you have two of the best defensive catchers in the game and two of the best handlers of a pitching staff. Catcher is probably the toughest position in baseball and the toughest to judge. However, these two are at the very top when they have the gear on.
Advantage: TieFirst base
Philadelphia: Ryan Howard
St. Louis: Albert Pujols
Albert Pujols struggled at the beginning of the year, but still finished with 37 homers and a .305 batting average. With the game on the line, who else in baseball would you rather have on the line? Nobody, that's who.
Advantage: CardinalsSecond base
Philadelphia: Chase Utley
St. Louis: Skip Schumaker
Even hobbled, Chase Utley is still one of the best second basemen in the game.
Philadelphia: Jimmy Rollins
St. Louis: Rafael Furcal
Furcal is struggling with a hamstring injury, and that really hurts the Cardinals because so much of his game is based on his speed. And when you start dealing with a speedster's wheels, they lose a lot of their effectiveness.
Advantage: PhilliesThird base
Philadelphia: Placido Polanco
St. Louis: David Freese
Casual fans may not know much about David Freese, but when healthy, the Cardinals' third baseman is an impressive hitter -- and right now, he's apparently healthy. Freese, 28, had a hit in eight of the team's last nine games.
Advantage: CardinalsLeft field
Philadelphia: Raul Ibanez
St. Louis: Matt Holliday
Holliday's status is unclear, but he is on the postseason roster. If Holliday plays, he's one of the game's best. That said, his palm is an issue. He took batting practice on Friday. Even at 80 percent, Holliday is a heck of a player.
Advantage: CardinalsCenter field
Philadelphia: Shane Victorino
St. Louis: John Jay
Jay has played well as the team's center fielder, hitting .297/.344/.424, but Victorino is having a great season. Not only did he hit 17 homers, he's also played Gold Glove defense.
Advantage: PhilliesRight field
Philadelphia: Hunter Pence
St. Louis: Lance Berkman
The former teammates provide perhaps the most intriguing matchup. Both have been the faces of the Astros franchise and are now beloved in their new homes. Berkman's wrapped up the Comeback Player of the Year award, hitting .301/.412/.547 with 31 homers and 94 RBI. Pence was an All-Star in Houston and even better in Philadelphia, where he's hit .324/.394/.560 with 11 homers in 54 games. Pence isn't a Gold Glover, but he's Willie Mays compared to Berkman in the outfield.
Advantage: TieStarting pitching
Philadelphia: Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Roy Oswalt
St. Louis:Kyle Lohse, Chris Carpenter, Jaime Garcia, Edwin Jackson
You may have noticed that the Phillies have a pretty good rotation.
Advantage: PhilliesRelief pitching
Philadelphia closer: Ryan Madson
St. Louis closer: Jason Motte
The Cardinals' bullpen has been bolstered by mid-season additions of Marc Rzepczynski and Octavio Dotel (the deal also allowed them to move Kyle McClellan back to the bullpen with the addition of Jackson). Since the trade, the Cardinals have the third-best bullpen ERA (2.86) in baseball. But the Phillies' pen has been stout all year long, while the Cardinals still have a bit of uneasiness when Tony La Russa makes one of his many visits to the mound.
Total advantage: Phillies (5), Cardinals (3), tie (2)
PREDICTION (click here to see full postseason predictions)
Trent's take: The Cardinals have the best offense in the National League and the Phillies the best pitching, so it will be interesting to see strength-on-strength, even though I'm always inclined to take pitching in that situation. The Phillies are the favorites, there's no doubt about that. The fact that Furcal and Holliday are hobbled by injuries doesn't hurt that idea, either. La Russa raised some eyebrows when he switched up his rotation on Friday, announcing he'd pitch Carpenter on three-day's rest in Game 2. If the Cardinals can take one of the first two games of the series, the pitching difference isn't as big in the second two games, which could make the series interesting. But there are still "ifs" to get to that point.@eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Tags: 2011 playoffs, Albert Pujols, C. Trent Rosecrans, Cardinals, Carlos Ruiz, Chase Utley, Chris Carpenter, Cole Hamels, David Freese, Edwin Jackson, Hunter Pence, Jaime Garcia, Jason Motte, Jimmy Rollins, John Jay, Kyle Lohse, Kyle McClellan, Lance Berkman, Marc Rzepczynski, Matt Holliday, NLDS, Ovtavio Dotel, Phillies, Phillies-Cardinals, Placido Polanco, Rafael Furcal, Raul Ibanez, Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, Roy Oswalt, Ryan Howard, Ryan Madson, Shane Victorino, Skip Schumaker, Yadier Molina
Posted on: September 12, 2011 9:52 am
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Albert Pujols may or may not be a Cardinal the next two years, but Chris Carpeneter will be. St. Louis has signed right-hander Chris Carpenter to a two-year, $21-million contract extension, Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
The team has not finalized the deal, but will do so later this week, Strauss writes.
The team had a $15 million option for 2012, but this replaces this and saves the team roguht $3 million a year. The contract doesn't include another option and no appearance incentives.
The Cardinals are hoping to lock up key pieces before having to deal with the Pujols situation this offseason. According to the Post-Dispatch, the team has already reached out to shortstop Rafael Furcal and right-fielder Lance Berkman about extensions. General manager John Mozeliak has also said the team would pick up the team's two-year, $21 million option on Adam Wainwright.
The team's opening day payroll was just more than $109 million and will only drop if the team doesn't keep Pujols.@eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: September 7, 2011 2:03 am
By C. Trent Rosecrans
The Cardinals will have one less thing to complain about next season, as the day after several St. Louis players complained about Monday's 3:15 p.m. start, the team said the will not schedule any midafternoon starts next season.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, general manager John Mozeliak said the team's holiday games will start either in the evening or in the early afternoon.
"I talked to those guys," Mozeliak told the newspaper. "I recognize it as a safety issue and it will be addressed."
Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday complained about the shadows at Busch Stadium following the team's 4-1 loss to the Brewers. According to the report, Pujols, Holliday and player union representative Kyle McClellan addressed the issue after a 7-0 loss to the Pirates on Aug. 27. After that game, Lance Berkman called the start time "a farce."
The Cardinals played 10 games at 3:10 or 3:15 p.m. this season -- seven for national television and three other scheduled by the team.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: July 27, 2011 5:11 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Newly acquired Edwin Jackson will start for the Cardinals on Friday against the Cubs, general manager John Mozeliak told reporters before Wednesday's game agains the Astros, via MLB.com's Matthew Leach.
The Cardinals will bump Kyle Lohse to Saturday.
The GM also noted right-hander Kyle McClellan will move from the rotation to the bullpen. McClellan was 7-6 with a 4.15 ERA in 17 starts this season after appearing in 202 games out of the bullpen from 2008-10, with six saves. McCelland had a 2.27 ERA out of the bullpen last season.
Mozeliak said the Cardinals would be shorthanded against the Astros tonight, but outfielder Corey Patterson will be available.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.